No, the new iPhone 12 isn’t coming at today’s Apple event — here’s why

iPhone 12 render from PhoneArena
(Image credit: PhoneArena)

As I told a friend this weekend, the iPhone 12 is not coming at the Apple event that's happening today (Sept. 15 at 1 p.m. Eastern). Yes, I know that's weird — new iPhones in September have been a regular thing since 2012 — but (as you already know) a lot of traditions were broken this year.

So while your local phone store may have warned you about how the Apple September 15 event may impact your iPhone purchasing decisions, you should probably keep reading to learn why they were wrong to get your hopes up.

First of all, Apple itself confirmed the iPhone 12 delay back in July on an earnings call, when chief financial officer Luca Maestri announced that "This year, the supply of the new product will be a few weeks later than that," referring to last year's sales. That positioned Apple for an October 2020 event for the iPhone 12.

And, yes, when Maestri says the change of the supply is related to the move, that's very much a nod to how COVID-19 has impacted the company's ability to build and deliver product.

Then, last Tuesday, after the Apple 'Time Flies' event invites were sent out, Bloomberg confirmed what we'd known to expect, and focused its article on the "high-end and low-end Apple Watches" that Apple is working on, "as well as a redesigned iPad Air with an edge-to-edge screen."

So you can expect an Apple Watch 6 and Apple Watch SE. You should also see a new iPad Air 4 with a full-screen design and Magic Keyboard support. Think a more affordable iPad Pro, but with only one back camera and no Face ID.

Then, yesterday (Sept. 14), tech leaker Jon Prosser of Front Page tech put up a new video about the rumored Apple AirTags where he spelled it out loud and clear, saying "they are not going to announce the iPhone 12 tomorrow." While Prosser hasn't been exactly perfect with his predictions (he claimed the Apple Watch 6 would be announced via press release on Sept. 8, but we just got an event invite instead), everything else we know backs this up.

I still would not be surprised for many to be disappointed at the lack of an iPhone 12 reveal today. Maybe Apple could tease it to acknowledge tradition, but anything beyond that (maybe they announce the date for the October event?) does not seem likely. 

Apple Insider reports that investment bank Wedbush sent a note out to investors that says today's event will built anticipation for the iPhone 12 event, which could be as early as the first week of October. They did not specify if Apple will refer to the iPhone 12 or the upcoming event.

So, potential iPhone upgraders, you're most likely going to have to wait a little longer to see the iPhone 12. I've also advised that people who think they'd be satisfied with the iPhone 11 wait to October to make that call, as those iPhones likely won't see a price drop until their successors have been announced.

Because while the tradition of new iPhones announced in September may be taking a break for this year, there would be no reason for Apple to discount its iPhones a month early.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.